Anatomical hierarchy

General Anatomy > Muscles; Muscular system > Muscles of upper limb > Muscles > Flexor digitorum superficialis

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Origin: Medial epicondyle of the humerus (common flexor tendon), as well as parts of the radius and ulna.

Insertion: Phalanges

Artery: Ulnar artery

Nerve: Median nerve

Action: Flexor of fingers (primarily at proximal interphalangeal joints)

Antagonist: Extensor digitorum muscle

The Flexor digitorum superficialis is placed beneath the previous muscle; it is the largest of the muscles of the superficial group, and arises by three heads—humeral, ulnar, and radial. The humeral head arises from the medial epicondyle of the humerus by the common tendon, from the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow-joint, and from the intermuscular septa between it and the preceding muscles. The ulnar head arises from the medial side of the coronoid process, above the ulnar origin of the Pronator teres.The radial head arises from the oblique line of the radius, extending from the radial tuberosity to the insertion of the Pronator teres. The muscle speedily separates into two planes of muscular fibers, superficial and deep: the superficial plane divides into two parts which end in tendons for the middle and ring fingers; the deep plane gives off a muscular slip to join the portion of the superficial plane which is associated with the tendon of the ring finger, and then divides into two parts, which end in tendons for the index and little fingers. As the four tendons thus formed pass beneath the transverse carpal ligament into the palm of the hand, they are arranged in pairs, the superficial pair going to the middle and ring fingers, the deep pair to the index and little fingers. The tendons diverge from one another in the palm and form dorsal relations to the superficial volar arch and digital branches of the median and ulnar nerves. Opposite the bases of the first phalanges each tendon divides into two slips to allow of the passage of the corresponding tendon of the Flexor digitorum profundus; the two slips then reunite and form a grooved channel for the reception of the accompanying tendon of the Flexor digitorum profundus. Finally the tendon divides and is inserted into the sides of the second phalanx about its middle.
Variations.—Absence of radial head, of little finger portion; accessory slips from ulnar tuberosity to the index and middle finger portions; from the inner head to the Flexor profundus; from the ulnar or annular ligament to the little finger.

This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from


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